Friday's NHL: Wild beat Avalanche 4-1, earn home-ice in 1st round

Associated Press

St. Paul, Minn. — Kirill Kaprizov had a goal and an assist and the Minnesota Wild clinched home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs by beating the Colorado Avalanche 4-1 Friday night.

Jordan Greenway had two goals and Tyson Jost also scored for the Wild (53-22-7), who needed one point to guarantee opening the postseason at the Xcel Energy Center where it won a franchise-record 31 games.

Finishing second in the Central Division, Minnesota is 10-1-2 in its past 13 games and 21-3-4 in its past 28. Its wins and 113 points set franchise bests.

Minnesota will face St. Louis in the first round next week. The Wild were 0-3 against the Blues this season.

Marc-Andre Fleury made 27 saves for the Wild, improving to 9-2-0 since coming over from Chicago at the trade deadline. Minnesota’s other goaltender, Cam Talbot, is 13-0-3 in his past 16 starts.

Nazem Kadri scored and Pavel Francouz stopped 18 shots for Colorado, locked in as the Western Conference's top seed. The Avalanche rested a handful of key players, including Darcy Kuemper, Nathan MacKinnon, the team’s second-leading scorer, Valeri Nichushkin, Devon Toews and Cale Makar, who leads all NHL defensemen with 28 goals.

Minnesota Wild's Jordan Greenway (18) checks Colorado Avalanche's Erik Johnson (6 ) into the Wild bench in the second period of an NHL hockey game Friday, April 29, 2022, in St. Paul, Minn.

Kaprizov, who set franchise records with 47 goals and 61 assists, entered the Avalanche zone on the left side, circled the net, crossed high in the zone, and started to repeat the lap when he saw Jost alone in the slot.

More games

(At) Buffalo 5, Chicago 3: Casey Mittelstadt scored 2:07 into overtime to give the Buffalo Sabres a 3-2 win over the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday night in the final game for two non-playoff teams.

Tage Thompson scored his 38th goal for the Sabres, and defenseman Owen Power, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2021 draft, added his second goal in eight NHL games.

Buffalo (32-39-11) rallied for its fifth win in six games to close out its 12th consecutive season missing the playoffs, an NHL record. Dustin Tokarski made 19 saves.

Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Collin Delia (60) skates off the ice as Buffalo Sabres players celebrate a goal by center Casey Mittelstadt during overtime in an NHL hockey game Friday, April 29, 2022, in Buffalo, N.Y.

Dominik Kubalik and Dylan Strome scored for the Blackhawks (28-42-12). Collin Delia stopped 33 shots.

Chicago snapped a two-game win streak to conclude a disappointing season. The Blackhawks finished 14th in the Western Conference with their lowest point percentage (.415) in 16 seasons. It's the fourth time in five season the Blackhawks haven't been in the playoffs after winning three Stanley Cups from 2010 to 2015.

(At) Montreal 10, Florida 2: Cole Caufield had his first NHL hat trick and the Montreal Canadiens routed the Presidents’ Trophy champion Florida Panthers 10-2 on Friday night in the regular-season finale for both teams.

As Tyler Pitlick netted Montreal’s 10th goal, “Guy! Guy! Guy!” chants rained from the Bell Centre rafters honoring late Habs great Guy Lafleur.

Carey Price made 37 saves in his 700th career start for his first victory of the season. Florida's Jonas Johansson allowed 10 goals on 37 shots.

Montreal Canadiens' Brendan Gallagher, left, and Chris Wideman, top, congratulate Jordan Harris for his gola against the Florida Panthers during the first period of an NHL hockey game Friday, April 29, 2022, in Montreal.

The Canadiens (22-49-11) scored on their first three shots. Jordan Harris had his first career goal to open the spree, Mike Hoffman tapped in a loose puck in the crease and Caufield scored on a wrist shot.

Brendan Gallagher, Mathieu Perreault, Jake Evans and Christian Dvorak also scored for Montreal.

Ben Chiarot and Noel Acciari scored for Florida (58-18-6).

Ottawa 4, (at) Philadelphia 2: Brady Tkachuk had a goal and an assist to lead the Ottawa Senators to a 4-2 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers on Friday night in the season finale for both teams.

Josh Norris and Travis Hamonic also scored and Austin Watson had an empty-netter for the Senators, who finished out of the playoffs for the fifth straight season.

Tkachuck reached the 30-goal plateau for the first time in his career with the eventual winning tally on a wrist shot on a power play with 3:22 left in regulation.

James van Riemsdyk and Owen Tippett scored for the Flyers, who capped one of the worst seasons in franchise history. Boos reigned down as they skated off the ice.

Philadelphia finished with a 25-57 mark overall and 14-27 at home.

The Flyers’ season was tumultuous on and off the ice. They finished with fewer victories in a full season only three other times, two of which came in the second and third year of the club’s existence. They entered Friday with the worst power play in the league and third-worst goals per game.

They fired coach Alain Vigneault in December, replacing him with interim Mike Yeo; endured a pair of double-digit losing streaks, including a franchise-worst 13-game skid; got called out from prominent former players for sitting a healthy Keith Yandle earlier this month, ending his NHL-record 989-game ironman streak; and traded away longtime captain Claude Giroux in March.

Injuries only told part of the story for the Flyers, who got ineffective play from players up and down the lineup, many of whom regressed.

(At) Pittsburgh 5, Columbus 3: The reeling Pittsburgh Penguins had one last chance to put together a complete game and gain some confidence before the start of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

The Penguins, losers of eight of their previous 12 games coming in, responded with a first-period blitz that carried them to a much-needed win.

Evgeni Malkin scored his 20th goal of the season and had an assist, and the Penguins beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 5-3 Friday night in the season finale to clinch third place in the Metropolitan Division.

Kris Letang, Brian Boyle, Evan Rodrigues and Marcus Pettersson also scored for the Penguins (46-25-11), who will open the Stanley Cup playoffs next week at the New York Rangers. Pittsburgh began the day one point ahead of Washington, which lost to the Rangers.

Casey DeSmith, starting for the fifth time in six games with All-Star goalie Tristan Jarry out indefinitely with a foot injury, stopped 33 shots. The Penguins beat the Blue Jackets for the 15th time in 19 meetings dating back to Feb. 3, 2017. Pittsburgh also won its 11th straight at home against Columbus dating back to Dec. 21, 2015.

Oliver Bjorkstrand had a goal for the fourth straight game for Columbus (37-38-7), and Gustav Nyquist and Justin Danforth also scored. Jakub Voracek had two assists and now has 800 for his career. The Blue Jackets scored a franchise-best 257th goal this season, but lost for the sixth time in their last eight games.

(At) Toronto 5, Boston 2: William Nylander scored twice and the Toronto Maple Leafs beat the Boston Bruins 5-2 on Friday night in a regular-season finale with both teams resting most of their stars.

The Maple Leafs ensured they will face the two-time defending Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning in the first round, while the Bruins are set to meet the Carolina Hurricanes.

Toronto finished 54-21-7 for 115 points, 10 more than the previous franchise record set in 2017-18.

Ilya Mikheyev, Nick Abruzzese, with his first NHL goal, and Pierre Engvall, into an empty net, also scored for Toronto. Erik Kallgren made 24 saves.

Trent Frederic and Jake DeBrusk scored for Boston (51-26-5). Jeremy Swayman stopped 22 shots.

Having already locked up the Atlantic Division’s No. 2 seed, the Maple Leafs rested Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner and John Tavares up front, while No. 1 goaltender Jack Campbell served as the backup. The Bruins were minus Patrice Bergeron, David Pastrnak, Brad Marchand, Taylor Hall and Charlie McAvoy.

Boston, which was playing the second of a back-to-back, still had a chance of catching Tampa Bay for third in the division entering play, instead finished as the Eastern Conference’s first wild-card seed.

(At) Dallas 4, Anaheim 2: Jason Robertson scored on a power play against an emergency replacement goalie midway through the third period and Dallas beat Anaheim.

Robertson gave Dallas a 3-2 lead with his 41st goal of the season, with puck going off an Anaheim stick and Thomas Hodges, making his first appearance in an NHL game after goalies John Gibson (upper body) and Anthony Stolarz (lower body) were injured.

Defensemen Thomas Harley and Joel Hanley scored second-period goals for Dallas, and Vladislav Namestikov scored into an empty net with a minute left.

Gibson made five saves, Stolarz eight and Hodges two. Hodges has been the emergency goalie for the Stars and the ECHL’s Allen Americans for three seasons.

Max Comtois scored for Anaheim 7:33 into the game, and Troy Terry tied it in the second period. Jake Oettinger made 19 saves.

Las Vegas 7, (at) St. Louis 4: Jack Eichel had two goals and an assist, leading Vegas past St. Louis.

William Karlsson scored the go-ahead goal 3:40 into the third period on a wrist shot, handing the Blues just their second loss (14-2-2) in their last 17 games. Jonathan Marchessault’s 30th goal, which was unassisted, came at 6:41.

Zach Whitecloud and Mark Stone also scored for Vegas. Max Pacioretty added an empty net goal at 17:44. Logan Thompson faced just 18 shots in making his 17th NHL start in goal and first against the Blues.

For the first time since entering the NHL as an expansion franchise in the 2017-18 season, the Golden Knights missed the playoffs.

Ryan O’Reilly had two goals and Jordan Kyrou and David Perron also scored for St. Louis. The Blues, who finished third in the Central Division, will open the postseason at Minnesota next week. Ville Husso had 38 saves to fall to 9-1-2 in his last 12 appearances.

Tampa Bay 6, (at) New York Islanders 4: Steven Stamkos scored three goals for his first hat trick of the season, and Tampa Bay rallied to beat New York.

Corey Perry, Ryan McDonagh and Brandon Hagel also scored for Tampa Bay, which trailed by two before scoring five times in the third period. Ondrej Palat added three assists and Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 33 shots as the Lightning secured third place in the Atlantic Division. Tampa Bay will face Toronto in the first round.

Jean-Gabriel Pageau, Kieffer Bellows, Josh Bailey and Zdeno Chara scored for the Islanders, who will miss the playoffs for the first time since 2018. New York reached the Stanley Cup semifinals the last two years before losing to the Lightning, who went on to win the finals each time. Ilya Sorokin had 28 saves.

(At) Winnipeg 3, Calgary 1: Connor Hellebuyck made 32 saves to help Winnipeg beat playoff-bound Calgary.

Blake Wheeler, Mason Appleton and Brenden Dillon scored for Winnipeg. The Jets will conclude the season Sunday at home against the Seattle Kraken.

Matthew Tkachuk scored his 42nd goal of the season for Calgary. Dan Vladar stopped 40 shots for the Pacific Division’s top club.

New York Rangers 3, Washington 2: Dryden Hunt scored the go-ahead goal in the third period, Alexandar Georgiev made 34 saves and New York beat Washington in the regular-season finale.

Filip Chytil and Alexis Lafreniere also scored for the Rangers, who snapped a three-game losing streak. New York will open the playoffs against Pittsburgh next week.

Justin Schultz and John Carlson scored for the Capitals, and Ilya Samsonov had 30 saves. Washington, which has lost four straight, will go into the playoffs as the East’s second wild card, and will match up with the top-seeded Florida Panthers.